The overall objective of the Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA) is to oversee workplace safety and health in Tanzania Mainland. The organisation has two main sections, one to oversee the safety component and the other to oversee and manage the health component. However, the two sections implement one another as they both aim at improving the safety of the workplace and working processes and the health of employees while at work.
This section is responsible for supervising all mechanisms instituted at the workplace for preventing occupational accidents and diseases. The said mechanisms are considered to be national standards and have been provided in the law governing Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 2003 and international standards as provided by the International Labour Organisation (ILO-OSH 2001). The section is headed by the Safety Manager supported by OSH Inspectors (comprising experts in all branches of engineering and environmental experts) who report to him.
The following are specific aspects which have been highlighted as important mechanisms in ensuring the safety and health of workers while discharging their day to day duties at the workplace:
OSHA conduct workplaces inspection in different parts such as general inspection, Plant Inspection, Electrical Safety Inspection, Industrial Hygiene survey, Ergonomics Inspection, Building and Construction Safety Inspection.
Safety Inspectors assume the responsibility to conduct thorough investigations when occupational accidents occur at workplaces. This is done to identify loopholes in preventive mechanisms in order to fix them before they cause more problems.
OHS Act, 2003 requires that those intending to erect public buildings to submit their architectural drawings to OSHA in order to be scrutinized to see if safety aspects have been taken into consideration in the anticipated projects.
Safety Inspectors also help occupiers to meet minimum compliance requirements by giving them technical advice especially after they inspect and produce inspection reports with detailed recommendations on how to correct any emerging shortfall
This section is formed by a team of Medical Doctors, Nurses and other Occupational Health Specialists whose main task is to conduct medical surveillance for workers to get insight of their fitness to work based on the nature of their jobs.
As per Section 24 of the OHS Act, 2003, employees are required to be medically examined mainly in three stages;
What our medical inspectors examine depends on the nature of work an employee is doing or is expecting to be engaged with but the mostly performed tests include;
Medical surveillance to employees is of much help as it gives chance to understand their occupational health status before engaging them in employment to avoid subjecting those unfit into further health problems. Periodic and exit medical examinations, are also necessary for understanding the extent to what the employees are being protected against occupational hazards surrounding them.
Medical Surveillance results are also important in recommending appropriate treatment meant to rehabilitate those affected for one reason or another as well as in making considerations on how to compensate employees whose jobs rendered them with disabilities or other permanent health problems.